Mansfield faces major problems with obesity alcohol and drugs, commission finds

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Obesity alcohol and drugs are major health problems affecting Mansfield, a commission has heard.

Council and health chiefs will meet today to tackle the major health issues which are affecting the town.

The Healthy Mansfield Commission is meeting today in its penultimate meeting before publishing its final report.

The commission was launched by Mansfield Mayor Kate Allsop with the aim of tackling health issues across the district.

The Healthy Mansfield Commission will focus on the serious health and wellbeing issues faced by the community of Mansfield.

Obesity has been discussed as a major issue facing Mansfield along with physical activity alcohol and drugs.

According to Mansfield’s health profile published on 4 July by Public Health England, the health of people in Mansfield is generally worse that the England average.

The district is one for the 20 per cent most deprived districts and 23 per cent of children in this area live in low income households.

Life expectancy is over 10 years lower for men and 8 years lower for women in the most deprived areas of Mansfield.

The stark statistics will be included in the discussion points of the commission chaired by Les Marshall, a former Labour councillor at Mansfield District Council and former chairman of economic development, leisure and housing committees.

Local health experts were invited to join the commission by the chairman during January and February.

The commission first met April to set the terms of reference and the priority areas for consideration. The commission will meet every month for six months then produce a final report and recommendations for a healthier Mansfield.

At its last meeting in September, the group discussed Obesity, physical activity and deaths due to alcohol and drugs.

The group discussed the information circulated which gave details of the extent of obesity within the Mansfield district, the profile also gave information as to what can be done to address this problem.

There was a recommendation that there should be more early intervention from both schools and at a family level.

In September The Commission also discussed how partner organisations could address the issue of obesity by considering their own catering procurement arrangements such as what foods to supply in vending machines in public

buildings, school meals and also what should be provided within soup kitchens and food banks.

There was also the scope to look at further partnership working in respect of the Feel Good Gardens project which is currently working in partnership with Mansfield District Council on a community garden project in the Bull Farm area of Mansfield.

It was noted that a detailed matrix could be considered which identified closer and clearer links between work which is being undertaken by partner agencies and how partners could work together on similar projects.

Physical Activity was discussed in detail using the information from the health profile provided by Public Health. The Commission broadly agreed with the proposals from Public Health It was noted that work currently being undertaken included the Family Practitioner of MDC working with partner agencies during the summer holidays to provide events with a healthy lunch and physical activities for vulnerable families.

The alst meeting heard reen space has been allocated in the Mansfield draft Local Plan and that approaches to planning needed to be strengthened to enable the community to have access to open spaces and also choices for active travel such as good cycle and walking routes.

It was recommended that the planning process be looked at by Mansfield District Council to determine if the decision making process could be made faster and less bureaucratic.

There was also a discussion about allowing free access to leisure centres for deprived people.

It was noted that there is the need to promote “feeling good” as opposed to “feeling healthy” as this is more appealing to people. It was also noted that unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking alcohol and drug use were coping mechanisms.

The committee noted that there is a high death rate within Mansfield of alcohol related deaths and that there are two and half times more licensed premises within Mansfield than the national average.

SRB reported that MDC’s Licensing Committee cannot restrict the number of licensed premises within the district and that licensing and planning have to be considered separately by law.

The Commission discussed further education programmes which were being undertaken throughout the district regarding alcohol awareness and it was noted that the police are currently running an education programme at Manor

School, there is also the Best Bar None scheme which Mansfield promotes which offers points to licensed premises who offer healthier choices with their bar menus.

We will update our report when minutes of today’s meeting are posted online as the press and public are not allowed into the meetings.